Health Notes #6
Learning From the Groundhog
Imagine being a groundhog. When the frosts of October come, you curl up in the ground. Your temperature drops from 98 degrees F. to somewhere in the mid-thirties. Your heart rate slows to a third of its normal rate, your breathing to a few breaths per minute. You become completely deaf and blind.
As winter passes, your brain's temperature increases. Your hearing and vision return. Metabolism speeds up, and soon you scamper out of your burrow "to see if your body casts a shadow!"
The groundhog illustrates one of nature's unique ways of conserving life's resources and restoring depleted reserves -- through the rhythm of life.
You're got rhythm too. Your rhythm is rest and it is an extremely important part of your day. You must rest to stay well. This is the time when your energy is restored. Your body is designed so that it cannot function without adequate periods of rest.
Your heart is one of the best examples of the balance between rest and activity. It is the strongest muscle in your body. How does it rest? After every contraction of the heart, there is a brief period of rest enabling it to continue at peak efficiency.
Other organs of the body have this cycle of work and rest. In fact, every cell of your body follows this cycle of rest and work.
"Early to bed, early to rise," is an old but important adage. Keeping a regular schedule of going to bed early and at about the same time every night, is also important. It has been shown that the more hours you can get in before midnight, the better.
The amount of sleep needed for good health differs with age and individuals. Newborn babies may sleep 16-20 hours a day. Young children need ten to twelve hours of sleep. Before age 40 most adults need six or seven+ hours. After 40 there is a slight increase in the amount of sleep needed. This continues until about age 70, when the need declines again.
Nature was put out there to teach us lessons. Let's learn from the groundhog and get with the rhythms of our bodies.
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If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.